Robert Galbraith’s newest Cormoran Strike book, Career of Evil was released yesterday (woop woop – I LOVE those books) and to celebrate the publisher teamed up with The Crime Vault to create a bespoke detective experience for fans. Of course I entered and amazingly I won! I had to turn up at a location in Hackney at the right time and solve a mystery as quickly as possible. The top two teams would win a dedicated and signed copy of Career of Evil.
While I love any and all signed books and have a collection threatening to overwhelm me, this was a particularly epic prize because Robert Galbraith is the pseudonym of none other than JK Rowling. Safe to say I really, really wanted to win.
Every hour two teams would compete at solving the mystery and when I reached the location I was introduced to my team. Also competition winners they were two gentlemen I’d never met before – Martin and Jake – and they were as excited as I was. The three of us were the Dream Team and in the scheme of the day we were Detective 3.
Both those pictures were taken before the actual event and pictures weren’t allowed once we were inside.
Once we were inside we were told what the problem was and what we had to do. We were then led into the room by someone called Lacey (Cagney led Detective 4 to their designated room) and left alone.
The publishing world is about to be rocked by a scandal: an author has written an explosive manuscript and everyone wants to get their hands on it. Our task was to get the manuscript first. The room we were in was an office and somewhere in there was what we needed. We found the safe containing the manuscript quick enough and figured out what we needed to do toot suite too. In order to figure out the safe combination we needed to solve a series of clues, use our brains, and make sure we left no stone un-turned – in our case it was make sure we left no drawer un-opened.
The three of us worked so well as a team. We got on with unlocking briefcases and cabinets and building a map of London from very minimalist building blocks without arguing with each other or wasting time with power plays. I actually did expect this – when you are with people you don’t know it’s always hard to gel properly. But we did. And that teamwork payed off! We finished in a brilliant time (I don’t know what it was but it was fast).
Once we finished we were given goody bags with some very cool contents (branded matches, alcohol, and a copy of the book) and told that out of the four teams that had already played at detective we were the fastest. As there were so many teams still to play the rest of today was a waiting game.
I was obsessively checking twitter seeing if the top two teams changed. Detective 7 were faster than us but there were a team of five (FIVE to our three) but even in second place we would still get dedicated books. Everything was crossed – everything. Then at 6pm tonight, after Detectives 9 and 10 had played The Crime Vault tweeted the winning detective teams.
And were still there! We came in second and it made my day! I won’t lie and I won’t pretend that it rankled slightly that we came second – I would have loved to come first and I am both mollified and angry at the fact that the winning team had five people. It does make me very, very thankful that we worked so well and so fast even though there were only three of us.
I will get over this, of course I will because we still won and that is pretty epic. I have never been part of an experience like this and had such a wonderful time. I also met two amazing people and worked in the best team ever. I can’t wait to get stuck into the book.
EDIT: I am a lot less grumpy a day later and lot more over the moon with the win!